Feb 12

Mejia Gets Third PED Suspension

Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia, who was serving his second suspension for PED use, was nailed a third time Friday and with it became the first player to receive a lifetime ban. This time, his drug of poor choice was Boldenone.

MEJIA: Just plain stupid. (AP)

MEJIA: Just plain stupid. (AP)

Technically, it’s not lifetime because Mejia can apply for reinstatement in one year. It’s probably a given the Mets aren’t going to give him another chance.

“We were deeply disappointed to hear that Jenrry has again violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” the Mets said in a statement. “We fully support MLB’s policy toward eliminating performance enhancing substances from the sport. As per the Joint Drug Program, we will have no further comment on this suspension.”

Mejia’s first suspension was for 80 games and came last April when he tested positive for Stanozolol, which created the opportunity for Jeurys Familia to become the closer last year. While serving that suspension he tested positive for Stanozolol and Boldenone. That got him 162 games.

Even so, because of their vulnerability in the bullpen the Mets re-signed the 26-year-old Mejia in December. They thought it was a good gamble because he would get a prorated portion of his salary, which would come at less than a $1 million.

Believing they would have Mejia back in July, the Mets opted not to bring back dependable reliever Carlos Torres, who recently signed with Atlanta.



Feb 11

Mets Should Sign DeGrom First

OK, you’ve just been named general manager of the Mets and have the task of signing one of the Mets’ young pitchers to a long term contract. Who’s your choice to sign first?¬†Rank for me your five in the order of which you’d sign him and give me a reason for your reason.

My five are:

Jacob deGrom: He told The New York Post¬†he would be receptive to a long-term contract, which puts him ahead of class. He’s had his health issues, but he’s also had two good years, which puts him at the top for me.

Noah Syndergaard: He’s six years from free agency, but he’s also the hardest throwing of the group and showed in the World Series that he’s not afraid.

Steven Matz: Like Syndergaard, his free agent window is down the road. I like he’s left-handed.

Matt Harvey: Why so low? For the simple reason he will probably cost the most, and by his own admission wants to test the market after the 2018 season. I can’t shake the feeling he wants to leave as he’s never said he wants to remain a Met. He should have no innings limitations this year, and could be primed for a breakout year. If he does what is already a high price will get more expensive.

Zack Wheeler: His rehab from Tommy John has been positive by all accounts and he should be ready to come off the DL in late June or early July. Before his injury there were scouts who had him ranked ahead of Harvey. The main reason why I have him behind Harvey is because he needs to put another full year in to prove he’s healthy. As with Syndergaard and Matz, his free-agent year is enough down the road – plus he has a limited resume – which doesn’t make them immediate priorities.



Feb 10

Five Most Intriguing Mets This Year

As there is every spring, the Mets have a myriad of questions to be addressed. To me, I’ve come up with a list of the five most intriguing questions facing the team this year These are all individuals, which means it doesn’t pertain to a specific area, such as the bullpen or bench.

The following individuals will most capture my attention:

CESPEDES: Big contract; big expextations. (Getty)

CESPEDES: Big contract; big expextations. (Getty)

Yoenis Cespedes: Let’s face it, he signed a $75 million contract, so that will put a bullseye on anybody’s back. I’ll be curious to see if he really wanted to be here or will bide his time and opt out after a year. Even if he doesn’t stay the three years, he’ll get $27.5 million for 2016. That’s a lot of money for a streaky player whose concentration isn’t always there.

David Wright: All of these lists have to include Wright for the simple reason of his back health. Gone are the days when you could have written him in for .300, 25 and 100. He’s no longer that player because of injuries. There’s also the matter of a contract that has him signed through 2020. Wright ended the season healthy, but he only played for a couple of months. Now he faces spring training, a full six-month season and hopefully the playoffs. Does he still have it at the plate? Can he physically play the position? How much rest will he need?

Matt Harvey: What? You think I’d forget about him? He’s two years removed from Tommy John and there apparently aren’t any innings limitations, although the Mets say they’ll watch him closely? They said the same thing last year. By all accounts, Harvey is physically ready. He also has a chip on his shoulder for how the season ended, with him throwing a dugout fit so he could pitch the ninth inning of Game 5 of the World Series. Need I continue? Harvey should be beyond motivated this year, hopefully to where he’ll win more than 14 games. I wrote earlier that I pegged him for 20. I’m not backing off that.

Travis d’Arnaud: He’s another one with health concerns. If he can stay healthy then perhaps he can live up to expectations of his bat. If healthy, I don’t see why he can’t have a breakout year. If so, the Mets might have a decision to make regarding Kevin Plawecki.

Jeurys Familia: We’ve seen numerous hot-and-cold closers over the years. Forty saves one year; 17 the next. Familia was terrific during the regular season after replacing Jenrry Mejia. He coughed up a World Series game, so how will he respond from that? He’s got wicked stuff, but he’s only done it for one year. Great closers do it year after year after year. Sure, I’m curious about Familia. You should be, too.


Feb 09

Mets Should Move Conforto Around

I read something the other day about the Mets giving Michael Conforto some time in right field and immediately thought, well, why not? I would also consider giving him some reps in center field. And, while they’re at it, why not try him at the top of the order?

CONFORTO: Could see some time in right. (AP)

CONFORTO: Could see some time in right. (AP)

I don’t like typecasting a young player to one position and one slot in the batting order. My thinking is the more versatile a player is the more his value is enhanced.

Conforto in right makes a lot of sense because Curtis Granderson will be gone after the 2017 season. Who knows, maybe Yoenis Cespedes might be gone, too. Assuming Granderson is gone – and days Terry Collins might want to rest him this year – then Conforto could play right, Cespedes could move to left and that way they can give Juan Lagares some time in center.

As for hitting him at the top of the order, although Granderson did well last year, there are times when his power potential could be better suited in the middle of the order. And, Conforto showed signs of being a good hitter. I envision him as a line drive spray hitter with the potential of having a high on-base percentage.

And, assuming Granderson is gone in two years, they’ll need a leadoff hitter again. So, what’s the harm in giving him a look-see there now?




Feb 06

De Aza On Block … Or Is He?

Well, that was quick. With Yoenis Cespedes now in the fold, Alejandro De Aza is suddenly now available. Or, at least that is what is being reported because of the crowded situation in the Mets’ outfield with Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto and De Aza.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said a trade is possible, but not imminent.

Since De Aza, who’ll make $5.75 million this season, isn’t expected to get much playing time, why not deal him? Because trading De Aza is the logical assumption, other teams would think the same thing so his value would appear to be limited.

So, unless De Aza is part of a larger package, I wouldn’t think teams are lining up for him. So, the thought here is De Aza isn’t going anywhere soon.